This page is dedicated to fond remembrance of members of the UW CSE family who are no longer with us. They live on through their many, significant contributions to UW CSE, the field of computing, and the broader community—and through the memories of their many close friends and colleagues at UW CSE.
Bob Bandes was a graduate student at UW CSE whose life was tragically cut short by a skydiving accident in August 1983. The following year, UW CSE established the Bob Bandes Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching to recognize exceptional undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants, who are chosen based on faculty and student nominations and course evaluation data. With this annual award, we honor both Bob’s memory and the significant contributions of our TA’s.
Gaetano Borriello, the inaugural holder of the Jerre D. Noe Professorship of Computer Science & Engineering, was devoted to UW CSE and our students. Upon earning his Ph.D. from Berkeley in 1988, he applied solely to UW CSE—an indication of how much he wanted to be here. Among Gaetano's many contributions was the creation of Open Data Kit, an open-source mobile data collection tool for use in low-resource settings. ODK, which is presently in use on six continents, enables a range of critically important programs in under-served communities, including public health screening, documentation of human rights violations, and environmental monitoring. Through his work, Gaetano demonstrated the power of research to positively impact the lives of people around the world.
Gaetano passed away in February 2015 after waging a valiant, six-year fight against cancer with courage, grace, optimism and humor – continuing to teach, advise, mentor and lead throughout. In his memory, UW CSE established the Gaetano Borriello Endowed Fellowship for Change, which seeks to build upon Gaetano’s legacy by supporting students whose work is focused on using technology to improve the lives of under-served populations.
William Chan was a UW CSE Ph.D. student making preparations to join the faculty of Brown University after graduation when his life was tragically ended by an automobile accident. His dissertation, which he defended one week before his death, was posthumously recognized in the 2000 ACA Doctoral Dissertation Award competition. In remembrance, UW CSE established the William Chan Memorial Dissertation Award to recognize graduate students whose dissertations show exceptional merit.
James Hewitt was a senior systems engineer at UW CSE and founder and CEO of technology consulting firm TechWolf Networks. In addition to his tremendous IT experience—including positions at the Pacific Science Center, Microsoft, Attachmate, Boeing and more—he had a tremendous heart. James died in a motorcycle accident in August 2003 at the age of 29. The merit-based James Hewitt Endowed Scholarship was created in his memory to support UW CSE undergraduates who, like James, demonstrate an enthusiasm for lifelong learning.
Ira Kalet was an adjunct professor of Computer Science & Engineering and Director of Security and Networking for UW Medicine IT Services, where he spearheaded the development of a strong security program for clinical research and data systems. Ira was very engaged with UW CSE, advising a number of our graduate students, and held joint or adjunct appointments with several other departments before his retirement from the UW. He passed away in February 2015 after a long battle with cancer.
Jonathan Ko was a UW CSE Ph.D. alum who worked with professor Dieter Fox in the Robotics and State Estimation Lab. Jonathan helped develop the Centibots framework for enabling large teams of robots to explore, plan and collaborate on search and surveillance tasks in unknown environments. He then turned to the application of machine learning techniques to robotics, notably his work on GP-BayesFilters that attracted attention in the robotics community. After graduating in 2011, Jonathan joined Google as a software engineer. That same year, he was diagnosed with cancer. An avid motorcycle rider, Jonathan aimed to ride every MotoGP track in the world in the time he had left. He passed away in August 2016 after a courageous five-year battle, having ridden five of the 15 tracks and inspiring countless numbers of fellow riders around the world.
Jerre D. Noe
Jerre D. Noe served as the first chair of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington and was instrumental in establishing the culture that guides UW CSE to this day. After receiving his Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Stanford University, Jerre spent a number of years at Stanford Research Institute, where he led the technical team for the ERMA project that first computerized banking in the 1950s for Bank of America. In 1968, Jerre was recruited to the University of Washington as the first Chair of what was then known as the Computer Science Group and its graduate program. Jerre guided the Computer Science Group to departmental status and the introduction of a Bachelors program in 1975.
Jerre retired from the UW in 1989 but remained actively involved with UW CSE until his passing in November 2005. To commemorate his extraordinary contributions, we established the Jerre D. Noe Endowed Professorship in Computer Science & Engineering, which is awarded to a faculty member who displays the characteristics of scholarship, leadership and humanity that Jerre exemplified.
David Notkin was a world-renowned leader in software engineering and served as chair of UW CSE from 2001 to 2006. He first joined our faculty in 1984, upon completion of his Ph.D. at Carnegie Mellon University, and held the Boeing Professorship, the Frank & Wilma Bradley Endowed Professorship, and the Frank & Wilma Bradley Endowed Chair. An extraordinary mentor, David’s philosophy about working with students followed that of his own adviser, Nico Habermann: "Focus on the students, since graduating great students means you'll produce great research, while focusing on the research may or may not produce great students." David was a founding member of the National Center for Women & Information Technology and a strong advocate for increasing the participation of women and members of other underrepresented groups in computing.
Before he passed away in April 2013, UW CSE celebrated David’s many contributions at the first Notkinfest, which has since become an annual tradition, and established the David Notkin Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Computer Science & Engineering in his honor.
Ben Taskar joined the faculty of UW CSE in spring 2013 as the Boeing Associate Professor focused on machine learning, natural language processing and computer vision. Before he came to the UW, Ben spent six years on the Computer and Information Science faculty at the University of Pennsylvania. He previously completed a postdoc at UC Berkeley and earned his bachelor’s and Ph.D. from Stanford University. Ben was considered a rising young star in the field and arrived at UW CSE as part of a "cluster hire" that made us an undisputed leader in data science and machine learning research. Ben passed away from sudden and severe heart failure in November 2013. Although his time at the UW was short, Ben’s brilliance, positive outlook and gentle nature inspired the respect and admiration of all who were privileged enough to work and study with him.
To honor Ben’s memory and advance a cause near and dear to him, UW CSE established the Taskar Center for Accessible Technology to advance technologies that increase independence and quality of life for people living with severe mobility impairments.
Donald Tsang arrived at UW CSE’s graduate program after earning his B.S. from UC Berkeley in 1990. He spent three years here before leaving to pursue his passion for entrepreneurship, devoting his considerable talents to a number of startups during his career. Donald was one of the earliest developers at Amazon.com and held positions at Marchex, Ground Truth, Relevant Data and Open Car. He also worked on the Playmation game platform for Disney. Donald was a devoted father, an avid musician and gamer, and an enthusiastic contributor of his time and expertise to a variety of organizations. He passed away unexpectedly in September 2015.